Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another day out

And here I am trying to put together something decent out on a nice sunny spring day. Only had a couple hours so today it was just a quick block in to get the board covered. For the finish I will add all the scene details and foreground trees in the studio. I mean really, who wants to paint all those branches in the field? Not me, I do not have the patience for that kind of action in the field.

Well here we are at today's stop. Time to get going on something. I mainly stopped here because there were a lot of birds singing in the nearby trees. The scene I am going to paint is looking out to the left of those bird filled trees. This wasn't the best scene I found today but sometimes you find a spot that you just want to hang out in for a while. All those birds told me this was it.

A nice spot on a country road close to home. Today however, I am heading a little ways further down the road.

With rainy weather on the way for tomorrow, I decided to take a short local day trip for a quick paint hit. I did a quick block in that is only about half finished but it was a beautiful day to be out.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New plein air 11x14 April Pond

Plein air piece from a couple days ago April Pond, 11x14 inches. And let's do this one in ...... and the winner is: Acrylics! I like using acrylics outside because you get fast dry times and can build up paint layers on the fly. Once again, I painted a solid base study  plein air and then brought the piece back into the studio for the finish.

New plein air 11x14

OK Here is the finished plein air piece from my post a few days ago. Country Road 11x14, this time in oils. Click on the image for a better view.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Plein air demo part 2

STUDIO FINISH: Once back in the studio, I worked on the finishing details like sky holes and  distant tree highlights. I also finished the berry bushes with some fine highlight work and added some more tree highlights to the main trees. I felt the painting was a bit too gray even though it was a cloudy day so I decided to warm things up a bit to make the painting have more life. I did this by adding some warm highlights in the sky creating a more golden afternoon light to the piece. This photo was taken in the studio so the photo is a bit warmer than the outside shots of the piece. Anyways, here is the finished piece, Afternoon Light 9x12.

STEP 5 FINISHED STUDY: After a few more details in the tree mass and some slight highlight work in the sky and bushes I am finished with this study. From here, I can go into the studio and refine this into a finished painting at my own pace. The total time on this study was a little less than one hour. It really goes fast; just think in terms of the large simple shapes and you are half way there! Now let's see the studio finish next.
STEP 4 REFINE COLOR: Here I am cutting in more small details but still keeping it loose. I have added a hint of some tree trunks and worked on the tree canopy adding in the lighter ares of leaves. On these cloudy days with fast light changes I find it is best to just go for the overall lights and darks. Once those were in, I used a short bit of sunlight that hit to add in the tree highlights. Notice the this stage I am adding in a bit more color as well. So now we are about 30 minutes into the painting.

STEP 3 REFINE SHAPES: So now it is time to refine main shapes. At this stage I am adding in some of the smaller objects such as the distant trees and berry bushes at the base of the large trees. Notice I also divided the field planes where the dirt is showing in the distance.

Afternoon Light plein air demo Part 1

STEP 2 BASIC LIGHTS & DARKS: Ok now I fill in each main shape with the basic color and apply a darker version of that color to the shadow areas. Again I am working fast here just getting the whole light mass and the shadow mass. The goal is to get a basic color map that shows the scene with light and atmosphere. I have also added the soft warm gray sky to help unify the painting so far. From here I already can get an idea of where this piece is going. I step back ten feet or so to compare my painting to the scene. At this stage we are only ten minutes into the piece. PART 2 is on the next post. Let's go!

STEP 1 BLOCK IN: So now I am blocking in the same shapes we saw in grayscale in the previous photo. I mixed a warm neutral green earth tone for my tree mass, a soft gray blue for the hills, and a wash of a lighter base green for the field. This stage is less than five minutes and as simple as following the those basic shapes we did in grayscale. Don't even worry about the details at this point. We are on to the next step!

COMPOSITION: here I have blocked in the basic shape composition using solids. Even though this is just single solid shapes you can still see the layout of the piece taken from the scene photo. This gives you an idea of how to be looking at the landscape when deciding what to paint. Now we can get going on the canvas.

COMPOSITION: From the overall scene I decided to pull in on the main trees and distant hill for my painting. Noticed that I have just three main solid shapes for this painting the trees, distant hills and the foreground. This is what you should be looking for at this stage.

START: So here is my location for today. A very nice country scene with rich colors. The cloudy day with shifting light is going to be tricky but if I work fast, I can still get a decent study out of this. A lot of people do not know what to paint once they are here, there is SO MUCH out there to take in it can overwhelm you. So here is the overall scene. Now let's pull a painting composition out from here to work with.

A cloudy day with a front moving in is going this one a bit tough. Hey, at least its not raining right? So here are the steps showing my basic process while painting plain air.
As I said before, I generally just work on quick block ins outside and finish them up in the studio. So here we go!

For a larger view of these demo photos just give them a click.

Plein Air with demo April 22

New painting from Tuesday, Afternoon light 9x12 acrylics. With the recent nice weather I went out for another plain air day. I have had many requests for demos of my work so I am posting a demo of this piece showing my basic steps. Hopefully some of you will get something out of this. The demo will be in the next 2 posts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Plein air day April 21 2009

Orchard in bloom.

Field Pal.

Today's paint stop.

Sorry it has been a while since my last post.

Well FINALLY we have some nice weather up here in the pacific northwest so I headed out for some plein air fun. Thought I would post a few photos from my day. The painting will get posted later after I finish it up in the studio. Typically I just do a fast block in outside. That way I can do several in a day (although today was just the one because I had to get back early).

Today's paintings was of the country road scene, a nice composition and lots of rich green fields to play with. While I was out there a pal cruised by out in the grass field, just wanted to check things out I guess. After painting the road scene I found this old orchard with spring bulbs in bloom. I think there is a larger studio painting waiting to be created from this shot.

-The SJ Studio paint guy